Rescue Corner: This isn’t a path that you choose

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My day is consumed with dogs. Every aspect of rescue that I love and every aspect that I hate has to do with dogs.

When this started I had two rescue dogs. Everything was easy. They were and still are amazing! Now I have roughly 20 in care. At the height of last year, we had 64 in care at one time. I am not only responsible for those lives, but everything that goes along with them. I have fosters and events, vet visits, marketing, shelters call, owners surrender, adopters decide they can’t keep the dog, this is fast paced and lives are in our hands. You don’t have time to stop and think about it!

Jennifer Buck-Aikman
Jennifer Buck-Aikman

In the last year along, 795,000 pit bulls died in US shelters. Pit bulls are my soulmates, and it’s my destiny to change the world for them. But sometimes it seems like God apparently has more faith in me than I do.

Until June of last year I ran this entire organization by myself with a handful of fosters. Our numbers skyrocketed when I picked up a litter of puppies from the Weatherford Shelter just days old and covered in the blood of their mother. Those babies made national headlines and overnight our world went crazy.

I have an extremely hard time delegating and walking away and trusting it will get done. The result of that is chaos. I dropped the ball here and there, missed appointments, vet bill skyrocketed and I am still trying to get that paid off! My point is this. I am only human and no matter how many different capes I try on, I will never be super woman.

My day starts at 4 a.m. and ends around midnight. No rest for the those of us that spend our days earning the trust of and teaching manners to the most hated, demonized, and discriminated against breed in the world.

My phone notifications have to be turned off from 11 p.m. until 7 a.m. Now that doesn’t mean I’m not around, but I have paperwork and other not so fun things going on that require my attention. Rescue takes over your life.

Your husband feels divorced and your children are learning compassion for those that have no choice in their situation while wishing they could have one day without dogs. Your friends and family have to remind you who you are and they are still very much alive and would like to see you sometime in the next year. But then there is always a dog…

Never in three years has there been a moment without a dog. And somewhere while losing you, you find your soul. And if you’re lucky, when you find it you falter at least a little because in finding that piece of you, you almost lose the rest of you.

Anyone that is here for the dogs is here for all the right reasons. We all come into the rescue world ready to change everything. So full of life and gung ho, but most have disappeared within a year. I have seen many beautiful souls turned cold and bitter by this ever demanding calling. It’s a destiny, a curse. And no one in their right mind does this because we want to. We do it because there are still suffering animals out there and we have to.

We are here because it is where we are suppose to be. I can’t speak for anyone else but I know I was placed here to help save this breed. Not to change the world but to change THEIR world!

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to the protection of man, from the cruelty of man.” – Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

That quote is by far the most significant quote in my world. If you hold this true to heart and see and hear what I do from the hundreds of emails, messages, and phone calls I get daily from people that just can’t handle their dog or have to move or any other excuse you can come up with as well as the cruelty and neglect calls and shelters needing help. Well, as a nation our moral progress and national debt are tied for the top spot of monumental proportions.

So now it is my turn. I have taken some time recently to reflect on where I am. Where the rescue is and what to do next.

Don’t worry, we aren’t going anywhere. But we are making some huge changes!

Effective Immediately Angels & Outlaws is on an intake freeze! I have bills to get paid and a life outside of dogs that has been neglected and with the help of the new board I was finally able to put together a group. Now if I can just give them the tasks and walk away and let them handle what their positions require. Baby steps, I know. I’m a control freak so I have to change me in order for this to work.

We will still have some events we do still have available dogs in care. We need this time to launch our new program. So please be patient with us and to anyone that I have not followed through with in the last several months I truly am sorry. I tried to take the weight of the world on and it put me in my place always a lesson to be learned.

Now we have an opportunity to show the world the pit bulls I know and love, to provide help for the rural communities, and to get more dogs safely and effectively moved out of shelters.

We are working on a program that will provide Shelter Pit Bulls to the Rural Law Enforcement Agencies already fully vetted and trained and Safe Dog Program Certified at a fraction of the cost that the would have to pay to a company that breeds them and trains them. Our departments don’t have the funding for a $10,000-$15,000 dog.

We are working on the details I will fill yall all in soon! But I will introduce you to the Board of Directors for Angels & Outlaws Rescue & Training:
Jennifer Aikman – Director
Jessica Bolin – Secretary
Lacey Robertson – Foster and Volunteer Coordinator
Kristin Mahaffey – Treasurer
Sharon Gaines and Charity Ray – Event Coordinators
Audra Boyd – Liaison to Military Police and Social Services

Jennifer Buck-Aikman is the Founder and President of Angels & Outlaws Second Chance Bully Ranch here in Erath County. She is a member of the SHS Class of 1996 and a lifelong member of the community. She believes that to truly Rescue means to work together no boundaries, no drama, just saving lives! To further discuss Rescue Corner, email her at rescuecornertheflash@gmail.com

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